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Volvo ousts Olof Persson, names Scania’s Martin Lundstedt chief exec

Move comes amid tougher international competition and mounting pressure from shareholders to boost profits

PHOTO: Scania’s Martin Lundstedt will join rival Volvo AB. Credit: Scania

Volvo AB has appointed Martin Lundstedt, current head of rival Scania, to be the new chief executive after ousting Olof Persson, who led the group for about four years.

Lundstedt will assume his new position in October. Jan Gurander, Volvo’s Chief Financial Officer will be acting president and chief executive of the Swedish manufacturer, until Lundstedt comes on board.

Amidst tougher international competition and mounting pressure from shareholders to boost profits, Volvo ousted Persson from the group’s helm as it seeks to revamp its strategy.

“After three years of focus on product renewal, internal efficiency and restructuring, the Volvo Group is gradually entering a new phase with an intensified focus on growth and increased profitability,” said Carl-Henric Svanberg, Volvo’s chairman.

“Martin Lundstedt has 25 years of experience from development, production and sales within the commercial vehicle industry. He is also known for his winning leadership style.”

In February, Volvo posted considerable losses for the fourth quarter of 2014 as its construction equipment sales took a blow. The group’s operating loss for Q4 2014 totalled $272 million, compared a profit of $114.9 million a year earlier.

“Operating income was negatively impacted by provisions related to the EU antitrust investigation and expected credit losses in China,” Volvo said in a February statement.

Scania said in a statement that Per Hallbergh, executive vice president and head of production and logistics, would be appointed acting president and CEO.

“We respect Martin Lundstedt’s decision to leave the company and wish to thank him for his successful efforts to further develop and strengthen Scania’s strong market position during his years as President and CEO,” said Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Scania’s chairman.

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